Why It Matters: State fish and wildlife management agencies are the entities best equipped to make important science-based conservation decisions. Legislation that strips away that ability is harmful to sportsmen and women because it takes important authority away from conservation experts and eliminates the ability of those agency experts to quickly respond to changing circumstances.
- North Dakota House Bill 1151 would bar the North Dakota Game & Fish Department from creating rules that prohibit the use of bait piles while hunting on private land.
- To ensure the wildlife management experts within the state retains their ability to adaptively manage wildlife and hunting based on the best available science, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) maintains that such decision-making authority should remain with the agency.
- In a letter submitted to the North Dakota House Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, CSF urged legislators to oppose the bill and retain the Game & Fish Department’s regulatory authority over wildlife management practices.
CSF provided written testimony before the North Dakota House Committee on Energy & Natural Resources last Friday, January 20th, opposing House Bill 1151, which would bar the Director of the Game & Fish Department (GFD) from promulgating rules that prohibit baiting while hunting on private land.
State wildlife management agencies are comprised of capable wildlife biologists that are aware of the constantly changing threats to the health of wildlife populations. By legislating away the decision-making authority of these agencies, they cannot quickly respond to threats through administrative action. Having an agency with the ability to properly administer rules is especially relevant in a state like North Dakota, in which the legislature meets every other year. The North Dakota GFD is the agency that was specifically established by the North Dakota legislature to protect the state’s storied public trust fish and wildlife resources and removing its ability to do so is counterproductive to the agency’s purpose.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to promote science-based wildlife management decision-making by opposing legislation like North Dakota’s House Bill 1511. Stripping state agencies of their authority to carry out the functions that those agencies were created for is detrimental to any state’s fish and wildlife management efforts.